One thing that we have to consider when we talk about the quality of the air that we breathe is the work that is done to protect people, including people who do not realize how and why they are being protected. The Occupational Health and Safety Act passed in 1970 to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women” and healthy air quality is included in those conditions. Most of us are familiar with OSHA, or the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and some of us may be familiar with the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH). These are two agencies that were created by the law to protect workers. OHSA creates standards and regulations on safety, and conducts inspections to ensure compliance with those regulations. NIOSH conducts research into workplace safety hazards to increase knowledge and proficiency in protecting people. Since 1970, myriad changes have taken place to protect both the immediate and long-term health of American workers. The American Lung Association also works to protect students of all ages; whether it’s working to make colleges and universities tobacco-free, or limiting the time that buses are idling outside of schools, or one of many other strategies to protect kids and teachers.
To learn more about how the government is working to protect workers and students, or what steps you could take to improve on these issues in your community, check out the websites below.